Help Musician's UK service of St. Cecilia, Westminster Abbey
Wednesday 23rd November 2016
Formerly known as the Festival of Saint Cecilia, the service always takes place on the Wednesday closest to her traditional feast day, November 22nd. We were represented by myself and the Mistress, the Senior Warden Ralph and his wife Maureen, Third Warden Andrew Golding and the excellent Clerk, Sandra. The Musicians Company have hosted it, with some gaps, since 1685 when Henry Purcell wrote a new anthem each year for it - this now happens with commissions from promising new talent and so we enjoyed Your Tongue's a Gift.. by Toby Young (b.1990) to libretto by Jennifer Thorp (b.1988). We assembled for gowning in the Lady Chapel - surely the poshest dressing room in the world? One forgets just how extraordinary Westminster Abbey is - it's so packed with historic gems and memorials, we were like a pack of meercats as we queued up to process. I count myself lucky as the service alternates between the Abbey, Westminster Cathedral and St. Paul's. Following the Liverymen of the Musicians Company, all in gowns, we processed down crowded aisles to our seats in reverse order so the Great Twelve had the best seats - we know our place! The service took about an hour and the address was given by flautist James Gallway. Once we'd processed back to our gowning chapel, we went in search of lunch and the Abbey cafe did us proud - really very good and we were surprised to get a table at such short notice. Thanks to the Musicians for a loveley morning.